Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4044..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
LDA did not communicate certain relevant planning information to all registered bidders, as expected under better practice. This led to a claim that some parties received preferential treatment.
So there you go; it is there in the report. The second issue was that the taxpayers failed to get full value. But we still do not know, even after this Auditor-General's report, what the value gain would have been if all the potential bidders had known that it was allowable on the site to have a 45 per cent-plus retail and a direct factory outlet. We do not know that, and the Auditor-General does not hazard a suggestion as to what that might have been. I agree that $70 million, which I mention in my letter, might have been way out of field, but that was the figure; it was a figure that was around at the time that I wrote this letter.
The third issue was that the marketing process was inadequate. Let us remember that the site was marketed as a bulky goods opportunity. Let us not forget that. That is the basic issue. That is where the crux of it was. That was what came up in estimates and I think I had the right to be concerned. Obviously I took a different tack from Mr Seselja and the Liberals. I am certainly not partisan in this debate. I have no favouritism for any developer over another; I certainly tried to keep out of that part of the debate and not to look as though I was supporting particular developers.
This motion might go through as it is, but I really cannot say that I would have acted any differently. Had I known all the details I know now from this Auditor-General's report, I would not have written that letter, but I could not have known that unless this report had been prepared. So I think it was fair enough to write that letter. I did not have all the facts at the time. We still do not have all the facts—but we have an examination process which I think is quite robust.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (11.27): Mr Speaker, It is typical of the government, and not surprising, to try a stunt like this. Mr Corbell was around when he was in opposition and trying to keep the then government accountable, and I can think of some at times quite disgraceful imputations and allegations made against the then Chief Minister Kate Carnell over such things as the hospital implosion and, indeed, things like Bruce Stadium.
The boot is on the other foot now and we have a shadow minister and Dr Foskey, who have, rightly, in their respective roles been asking a series of questions over a series of months in relation to a most important sale in relation to a number of most important issues that face the territory. Planning issues are important, as are issues in relation to proper process, issues in relation to the government getting value for money and issues in relation to being able to understand such things as the territory plan.
The minister has brought so much of this on himself. He might think, "Oh, yes, this report vindicates me,"but if you read it there are some very serious issues that the government need to respond to and take on board. There are also some issues that we have not seen the last of yet, because the ACT government and this Assembly are not the only players in this particular equation.